HUGE Huge

According to today’s MediaDailyNews, Google and eBay have reached an agreement on a new way for advertisers to talk to consumers — an innovative use of online telephony that allows web users to speak directly with the advertiser. Folks, I cannot begin to describe how huge this is.

“The click-to-call capability will allow a user to click on a link or icon within a product or service advertisement to initiate an Internet voice call to participating eBay merchants or Google advertisers directly from either company’s respective sites,” the companies said in a statement issued early Monday morning. They described the approach as an “emerging e‑commerce model” that would bring buyers and sellers together via the Web, and added that plan already are afoot to integrate Skype into Google’s toolbar and its Google Talk system.
So once again, the internet big boys are creating something that moves the whole advertising world in a new direction — a direction, I might add, that is as inevitable as the rain in springtime. And what will we do to get in on this action? We’ll play using their tools — for a price, of course.

And, once again, this new direction emphasizes functionality over form. “Click here to talk” isn’t sexy and won’t win all those Addy awards, but advertisers will love it. I mean, these folks don’t give a crap what Madison Avenue thinks. How ridiculous! I remember when Google’s Adwords first came along. They were simple pieces of text with a link. No flashing. No whirling. No pretty pictures. No “message.” Just straight selling. Who knew?

I think this is great news for the web and for commerce. These types of ads will demand a premium for those phone calls, and the metrics? Oh, my!

So while the incumbents of the media world are boasting in their new found ability to actually make money from the web through tired, old display advertising, reach-frequency models, the folks who REALLY understand what’s going on have reached a little deeper into their toy boxes in a way that makes what MSMers are doing look, well, like child’s play.

UPDATE: I now discover that this ad style has been around for awhile with certain Yellow Pages sites. That doesn’t change my opinion that this is pretty huge, because the Yellow Pages — for all their efforts — is still an incumbent business that’s being disrupted by the Googles, eBays and Yahoos of the world. And when they get together, we need to pay attention.

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